Choosing Timeless Home Accessories
If you are like me and get your decorating ideas from pouring through the latest home design magazines and going for occasional strolls through stores like Z Gallerie, you know that home accessory trends are just as fickle as accessories in the fashion world.
Sure, I admit I’ve gotten caught up in latest trends in home accessories – my living room at one time paid homage to the sea, awash in coral sculptures and delicate seashell specimens displayed on gorgeous stands. The good news is, I lived about three miles from the beach, so it wasn’t THAT much of a stretch. The home furnishings in the room were beautiful and looked to be straight out of the pages of a magazine.
One major problem with following any trend occurs when the winds of design change shift and you are left with yesterday’s accessories and furnishings. It is as frustrating as it is expensive. So, I decided jump ship and now stick with the basics--classic home accessories that never go out of style. That way I can throw in a trendy item here or there, but the look is always…timeless!
First, here are four general tips to help you in your quest for timeless home accessories to complete your room design:
1. Simplicity is key. Clutter is not your friend – besides, it’s a royal pain when it comes time to clean the house! With that in mind, keep your room decoration scaled back. Choose larger items that make a bold statement versus a collection of smaller chotchkies that lose visual impact. Simplicity in design is also a good rule of thumb. Pack away those ornate and overly adorned accessories.
2. Inject your personality. Exquisite home accessories can be soulless. My magazine-like living room was lovely, but it had no personality. Home accessories should suit YOUR style and personality, not the whims of designers who arbitrarily decide what is hot and what’s not. Draw inspiration from your personal interests. Items collected from travels are great additions to a room.
3. Patience is a virtue and nobody’s perfect. Realize that you will not achieve the perfectly accessorized home overnight. Heck, you may never get to that point. The fun is in the acquisition of pieces collected over time. It is like a treasure hunt – never go out with the express intent of finding a specific item. The joy is in the serendipity of stumbling on something that “speaks” to you!
4. Change happens. Even when decorating with timeless home accessories, it doesn’t mean that at some point you won’t get tired them. Be prepared for that eventuality. Carve out a closet or space in the basement for accessories that you can rotate in and out. Don’t get carried away and rotate the entire house, stick with the living room and your bedroom.
Let's get down to the nitty-gritty! Consider these eight design idea gems to get you on the road to creating a comfortable home with timeless home accessories:
1. Candle Holders. This is an old tried and true. Candlesticks or holders look fabulous on a mantel, on the hearth or clustered on an oversized coffee table. Remember, less is more and bigger is better.
2. Chandelier. Rooms with high ceilings beg for some sort of lighting suspended from above. No need for crystals or elaborate gold filigree. Sell your dated ceiling lights on Craig’s list and look for a simple carriage lantern, drum shade or classic fixture that will transcend the trends.
3. Mirror. Don’t forget wall décor.An oversized mirror is perfect for a small room. It will add a sense of space and if placed correctly will reflect the outdoors in. A mirror also adds light to any space. Keep the mirror frame style simple –it can pick up the wood tones or metallics in your room.
4. Plants. Greenery (of the real or silk variety) adds life to a room and will look beautiful for many years. Buy the tallest floor plants your space can handle – a high ceiling will dwarf most average size trees. Make sure your container is in proportion to the plant size. Think about smaller plants for side tables. To me, nothing is more timeless than a boxwood in a white ceramic urn – great for a side table.
5. A pair of lamps. A pair of substantial lamps will add symmetry to traditional rooms and will provide ambient home lighting. I’m reminded of my favorite lamps. The pair of cream-colored, ceramic ginger jar lamps have served me for decades. I periodically add new lamp shades to update their look!
6. Books. How easy is this one? If you are not a voracious reader, simply shop garage sales and thrift stores to find hard-bound books to add that lived-in quality to a room. Look for book covers in colors that coordinate and constrast with your furnishings. Vary the way you display them. Stack them one on top of another and place others between a pair of eye-catching bookends.
7. Large urn or floor vase. Choose a weathered Tuscan finish or a high gloss Asian inspired lacquer – whatever style works with your décor. Don’t bother adding silk flowers, reeds or bamboo. A large floor vase makes a statement on its own. Like lamps, symmetry is timeless – so if the budget allows, buy a pair!
8. Throw pillows. I know pillows are not something you would normally consider a timeless accessory that lasts for years, but here are a few tips to ensure you can enjoy them for more than just a few seasons. Purchase high quality down inserts -- they won’t lose their shape and can be fluffed up after many a lazy afternoon nap!
Whether you are handy with a sewing machine or not (enlist the help of a local seamstress!), start by selecting durable upholstery fabric in classic patterns. Sew custom zippered pillow covers that can be removed for regular professional cleaning. Regular cleaning refreshes the fabric and extends the life of the pillow. When the covers finally do wear out, simply create new ones!
© 2010 lindacee